Virginia Probate Lawyers
Helping Guide You Through Complex Probate Issues
Are you and your family working out a will or other estate planning documents in order to avoid probate? Have you already become mired in a costly, lengthy probate proceeding or litigation? Have your attempts to craft your own will or trust hit a snag? If so, the Virginia probate lawyers at Antonoplos & Associates can help. We bring over 20 years of experience, integrity, and credibility to all of our estate planning services.
What is Probate
Probate is the court proceeding where a will is verified, and an estate is administered according to the terms of the will. Probate is also used where no will exists, in which case an estate will be administered under the terms of Virginia law. The process includes the collection of assets, the liquidation of liabilities, the payment of taxes, and the distribution of property to heirs. Our lawyers provide representation in both probate and estate administration.
Who is Responsible for Managing a Probate Estate in Virginia
In Virginia, a personal representative is in charge of administrating your probate estate. Personal representatives are named in a person’s will. Most individuals also name a substitute personal representative in their will in case the person they name cannot serve for any reason. If you do not have a will, a family member or other interested party must petition the court for appointment as the personal representative. Finally, preference is given to certain family members beginning with the surviving spouse and children.
The responsibilities and duties of a personal representative can be overwhelming, especially in the case of large estates, estates that involve probate litigation, or estates in which a family member plans to contest the will. Furthermore, our Virginia probate lawyers assist personal representatives in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities, including providing legal advice, monitoring deadlines, completing forms, and filing documents with the court.
Some of the duties and responsibilities of a Virginia personal representative include:
- Filing a petition with the court to open a probate estate
- Notifying the heirs and creditors of the decedent’s death and the opening of an estate
- Identifying and securing the decedent’s property
- Completing an inventory and appraisement of the property
- Reviewing creditors’ claims and filing objections as needed
- Paying just debts of the estate and the decedent
- Distributing the property of the estate according to the terms of the will or the Virginia intestacy laws
- Preparing and filing final tax returns
- Preparing and filing an accounting with the court
The above list is not an exhaustive list as each probate case is unique. As such, there could be additional responsibilities that you might have as a personal representative depending on the circumstances and faces related to the probate case.
We understand that you may still be coping with the loss of a loved one. The stress of dealing with a probate estate can add to your stress and anxiety. Our legal team handles all aspects of the probate process. Our goal is to help you probate your loved one’s estate as quickly as possible so that you can move forward with wonderful memories of your loved one without the stress of a court process.
What if Someone Challenges a Will?
In Virginia, an heir or beneficiary may challenge the will. However, the burden of proving that the will is not valid rests with the person petition the court. Family members challenge wills for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they may disagree with the proposed distribution of the estate. Secondly, they may believe that an heir used undue influence to force the decedent to change his or her will for the benefit of the heir. Finally, they might believe that the person lacked the mental capacity to sign a legal document.
Whatever the reason may be, if a will is challenged, the probate process becomes more time-consuming, frustrating, and costly.
By having a Virginia probate attorney draft your will, you reduce the risk that a court will deny your will. Additionally, an attorney understands the laws governing wills and probate matters. Finally, by working with an attorney, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your will meets all legal requirements for a valid will in Virginia and is worded in a way that discourages will contests.
Trusted Assistance in All Estate Planning Matters
With a strong background in taxation representation, we bring our unique point of view to all areas of estate planning, including issues concerning wills, trusts, and asset protection, such as:
- Probate avoidance
- Probate litigation
- Trustees and guardianships
- Joint tenants
- Separate and community property
- Right of survivorship and intestate succession
When you work with the skilled lawyers of Antonoplos & Associates, you will find everything you need to know about probate, and wills and trusts.
Contact our Virginia Attorneys for More Information
For more information regarding our Virginia probate lawyers contact us at 202-803-5676 or directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.